A NORTH-EAST education trust has signed a charter aimed at promoting peace, tolerance and equality in memory of murdered MP Jo Cox.
Lingfield Education Trust, comprising seven schools, has marked Hate Crime Awareness Week by pledging its support for ‘The United Darlington Charter’.
It is the first education trust to sign the charter, which has been drawn up by a peaceful campaign group called More In Common Darlington.
The group, originally called White Rose Darlington, was established following the hate crime killing of Jo Cox, MP for Batley and Spen, in 2016.
However, it was renamed More In Common Darlington following a meeting with Jo’s sister, Kim Leadbeater, who had created More In Common Batley and Spen.
The charter, based on the principles of the United Nations Charter, signed after World War Two, concludes: “We declare that all who live in, work in, or visit our town will be afforded equal respect, status, trust, hospitality, friendship and kindness.”
The Lingfield Education Trust incorporates five Darlington primary schools – Mount Pleasant, Hurworth, Heathfield, Northwood, and Corporation Road – as well as Hemlington Hall Academy, in Middlesbrough, and Cambrai Primary School, in Catterick.
The trust’s chief executive, Nick Blackburn, said: “We were very keen to pledge our support to the charter because its principles align very strongly with the values embedded into our seven schools.
“Great care is taken in our schools to guard against any form of discrimination, and this is another opportunity to underline the importance we place on tolerance of the differences that exist within our communities.”
More In Common Darlington aims to find ways of reducing animosity towards people from different nations, faiths, women, the LGBTI community, those with disabilities, the homeless, and others facing discrimination.
Peter Greenwood, who is chair of More In Common Darlington, is also a governor at Corporation Road School.
He said: “We are delighted that the Lingfield Education Trust is taking a leading role by signing the charter.
“As a governor, I’m very aware of the atmosphere the trust creates in its schools around harmony, togetherness, and the welfare of every child. I am a great fan of what the trust is doing, and its values align perfectly with those enshrined in the charter.”
Helen Tarokh, headteacher at Heathfield Primary School, added: “This charter is very in tune with what we are doing at our school, where we are having a year of diversity to encourage the children to celebrate their differences and come to see them as positives.”
As part of its year of diversity, Heathfield Primary is celebrating the lives of eminent black figures.
(Inset picture, left to right, Helen Tarokh, headteacher at Heathfield Primary School; Ann Pringleton, headteacher at Corporation Road Primary School, Nick Blackburn, chief executive of Lingfield Education Trust; and Peter Greenwood, chair of More In Common Darlington)